LSU’s spring practice hasn’t brought a conclusive answer at quarterback, and replacing Zach Mettenberger has been the spring’s biggest priority.
Les Miles has played the position battle close to the vest, and few details have been given as to Anthony Jennings’ and Brandon Harris’ development and performance over the last month.
Following last Saturday’s scrimmage, Miles alluded to an ongoing and unsettled quarterback battle.
“The quarterbacks will be a competitive situation,” Les Miles said.
“Both quarterbacks threw the ball better and made improvement,” Miles said. “Both played with the first team and the second team. Both quarterbacks showed skill, some opportunities to change things and improve. That’s what both are working to do.”
Three scrimmages in, LSU doesn’t feel comfortable about a starting quarterback. And Miles isn’t offering a ringing endorsement of either one. Maybe Anthony Jennings hasn’t done enough, or maybe Brandon Harris has impressed the coaching staff to put just enough doubt in their minds. The reality probably lies somewhere between the two.
Harris and Jennings combined for three interceptions last Saturday, but Miles added the picks had less to do with bad throws or poor decisions.
Miles said he regrets the lack of pressure he applied to Jennings’ pre-Outback Bowl practice, and he isn’t making that mistake this spring. Both quarterbacks are seeing live bullets this spring.
“This is exactly how we should have practiced,” Miles said. “He would have helped us significantly in the bowl game, because there were times where he’d have a comfort with what he had, he’d have gotten out of there.”
One significant emergence that could help both quarterbacks is reliable pass catchers. With Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham departed for the NFL, finding their replacements hasn’t yielded much better results than quarterback.
JUCO transfer Quantavius Leslie caught just one pass for 11 yards last season; he’s improving this spring, and he recorded four catches for 135 yards and three touchdowns last Saturday. Redshirt freshman John Diarse has emerged as one to watch, too. Top newcomers Trey Quinn and Malachi Dupree won’t arrive until this summer, and getting those two up to speed in fall camp will be crucial.
The quarterback battles continues to be a fluid competition, and don’t expect anything to be settled in Saturday’s spring game, either. This battle could go well into fall camp, and it should surprise no one if both quarterbacks play in 2014.
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